All Posts by bojanb

Omar – “I BELIEVE A FEW PEOPLE CAN HELP EVERYONE IN THE WORLD!”

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In april 2017, Omar – 26-year-old Syrian refugee – founded an organization refugee4refugees on Lesbos and Samos, two of Greek islands with the most immigrants. The organisation, that is, mostly Omar himself, runs programs to improve the lives of refugees on the island, like education, free shop, programs for kids, engaging volunteers from all over the world. He himself is also a volunteer! The organisation is one of the most notable on the two islands. “I can see the Mediterranean full of blood, since people can not escape from the violence at home.”
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"In my experience, the EU played a game, which later became too much for them and they lost control. Nobody was expecting this ... Nobody could ..."

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“I am a refugee myself, so I have a different story with the EU. When they create a war ... In my experience, they create a war, a war doesn't start by itself ... I am here to save my life. They were trying to fix my leg, I went to school, had friends, led a normal life. One day, they came to my house at 6 a.m. I opened the door and gun was pointed to my head … There were policemen who were supposed to have information about me. In the end, they told me I was working for ISIS. Anyway, they fucked my life, since they took my ... and friends. When I got this paper that said 'We are sorry', I decided to go  back to Syria … Our government does the same ..."

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Bojan Brecelj: "Before I even entered the official zone of Moira camp, I had an incredible flashback situation. Ladies from Afghanistan around perfect killeen for their traditional bread and the smell that I still have in my memory from when I was traveling through Afghanistan in the 1970s. At that time, before the Russian and Americans destroyed the country, it was the most friendly and gentle place in the world - hospitality was the keyword. Even the police at the border first gave me some good hashish for the welcome, asking for my passport. These people who treated me so nice and taught me sooo much in my life are now in deep trouble, because of us, first of all! And we do not welcome them??? The Afghan ladies did not mind at all that I was photographing them! On the contrary, they gave me two loafs of very tasteful Afghan bread! Hospitality beyond imagination!"

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"It came from my family ... They taught me that if I see somebody who needs help, I will help. When I was living in Germany, I was doing the same, I was volunteering ... Before the war, I was working with my father in construction, I studied and also practiced swimming ..."


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"Over 70 percent of NGOs have refugee volunteers, we call them community volunteers. I am from Syria and I know how I to help them! The same goes for people from Afghanistan, Africa ..."

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"It is easy to fix the situation, but at the same time, it is difficult, because the governments don't want to fix it. There are many reasons. You have a lot of smart people in the camp, but to get asylum, you need to be crazy, you need to provide a paper stating that you are crazy ... It is a game."

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About the responsibility for the war in Syria:

"All the governments, such as America, Russia, Iran ... Everyone has their hands in Syria right now. If they take their hands and their feet out of there, we would go back to our countries and live in peace again. But they don’t want that, they want to continue, otherwise the war would be here tomorrow … The same day, they would start it in Turkey, and the next day it would be in Europe ... Because everybody is against Turkey. They will never stop the wars … It’s all about the money."

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About future changes:

"Yes, something will change, but it is going to change for the worse … Because no one has enough money. Someday, if they have enough money ... You can get money in many way, smuggling people, having them in camp, creating the war, from the petrol … Everywhere …"


"I do not believe my dream will ever come true, but anyway ... To return home and also to see one day, or just for a few hours, that the people who work with us see that we are humans … And even if they believed we are animals, they would take better care for us. No one gives a shit ... I believe people get tired of the situation, of the government … I believe that A FEW PEOPLE CAN HELP EVERYONE IN THE WORLD, because if just a few people start to help others, those others can help another few ... This mean that no one in the world would need help anymore, and we would not have war anymore … If they would just start with explaining the situation in the camp, explain to the people why they are here and how long they will be here, people will wait, but no one explains nothing, because no-one knows.”

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About control:

“For instance, I come from the north, there are three families ... One million people. We don’t know each other, but in some way, we are really close. If we see something wrong, we have the right to catch this person. We have the right ... that is what they teach us, but in EU it does not work the same. Now, the kind of people you have in Europe. I am sure it is pretty much the same in Afghanistan, Africa ... If you could just teach these people before you welcome them, everything would be different. They can be in control ... What is freedom in Europe? Alcohol, being with women, and freedom of speech. In Ethiopia, freedom of speech is 0,5 out of 10! Whatever you want to do, you need permission, and for me, this means control, no freedom at all. I cannot say I am Muslim, because everyone believes how a Muslim brings terror. At the same time, I do not want to generalize. I say, before you say something about another person, try to meet this person and understand what he wants.” 

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"In one of my projects, I have a free shop where people can go and choose what they like. I am trying to show them they are human and they can choose for themselves. I believe everything will be fine and that I can do more for them."

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"EVERYONE BELIEVES WITH THE POWER THEY HAVE, WHEN THEY HAVE ENOUGH MONEY, THE WAR WILL STOP ...  here! If someone who has power and information about what will happen to those people tells them the truth about what is going on, what they have and what they provide, those people would start their lives, build a new house, start business, live their life here ... But people don't have any info ... They are waiting all the time in front of the ferry, they just want to live here, you can't imagine this feeling ... My idea was to create a workshop here, provide free accommodation and small salary, and after six months, when I teach them something and they gain some experience, they get their own work and pay back from their salary ... But it is a huge project ... Imagine how many people would start their life."

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"I don't want to live in this world anymore, because I do not see any future anywhere in the world ... Always control ... Before  you even have an idea, they already know what you want and will never let you do what you want. Now I am trying to be against the control, of course, to respect the law but to do something they do not like. Now I am trying to change the living conditions, like cleaning their houses, the surrounding area, working in their garden. I am my own boss, and I'm not even boss to my volunteers. We have some rules in the NGO - if refugees fail to do the work, we try to do it. Personally, I get strength from refugees, they will never turn against me. For example, I was arrested three times in Samos ..."

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"If i need to blame someone, I will blame the government. 99,99% of the problem is the government. If they would just explain to their people why those people came, why we have to support them, why we have to help them, welcome them to our country, everyone would be happy ... People who help, they believe their stories or just try to help them, they don't really know  why. If you ask me, it is how we were taught. But people get tired, if you try me for one year it will be finished, I promise I would work 23 hours a day.  But you don't know how long it will take. In the winter, you start to prepare for emergency, after the winter, you start preparing for the summer. When the summer ends, you start to prepare for the winter. Every day, you have something to do."

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Omar Alshakalis is Director and Co-founder of Refugee4Refugee. He works on the ground on a daily basis and oversees the NGO’s entire operations. As a Syrian refugee himself, he brings invaluable insight when designing and implementing humanitarian aid interventions from a practical perspective, using a beneficiary approach to best serve the refugee communities in both Lesbos and Samos. In emergency situations, Omar’s responsiveness is extremely fast, often taking the role of mediator and always knowing what to do, who to talk to and how to keep everyone safe. Omar is an incredible human and humanitarian. He fights inequality every single day, and his drive to help everyone in need is extremely contagious.

Omar fled his home town of Deir Ez-Zor in 2014 after ISIS took control and he was severely injured during a missile strike. He swam for 14 hours from Turkey to Greece to reach safety and, after witnessing the humanitarian crisis that was taking place in Lesbos, he co-founded Refugee4Refugees in April 2017. Nowadays, the NGO is working in both Lesbos and Samos, growing step by step to increase the impact and quality of its interventions.

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Released by MED Land project / photography, editing: BB / cover photo: self-portrait by Omar /  audio conversations, BB and Eleonora Pauli,  text editing / proof reading: Tadej Turnšek, godfather of the stroy Barbara Ćeferin

Posted by bojanb
a couple of months ago

The first three days of 2020

THE TEAM; Ivana Petan, Gregor Erjavec, Petra Petan and Bojan 

The first three days of 2020 we, MAD Landers, spend on island Hvar - THE home port of Nalu and main office for the project, located in Museum of Stari Grad (MED Land partner)

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The trip started from the Split main ferry port.

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Posted by bojanb
a few months ago

Venice update

on 29 of December 2019 

Marko Pogačnik (author of many books about Venice) and Bojan, had a day trip to experinc Venice.

Venice is birth place of MED Land project as well as the home for the first year of the project, which was dedicated to Venice -lagon resulting in exhibition-Water dragon of Venice and Self-published art book , second 
layout  Water Dragon of Venice – Exhibition in Zadar

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                                                                                                                                                                                   the present, in a transitional, transit time ; the present, which is part of the process and changes to come, is already happening and announcing new relationships and new arrangements (also) in the beingness of Venice 

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Campo San Via

taking photos were for me, part of the process to get in touch with :

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air landscape - appearing somewhere in between water and earth (disintegrating) space

parallel realties that I felt also in the past, but not the same !

Venice (lagon) is vital from its own roots and like many other “special”, intensive, sacred  spaces, inspires me to connect to Earth in the time of changes

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Giudecca- Chiesa di Sant Efemia

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Zaterre

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Giudecca- Chiesa di Sant Efemia-garden

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 Giudecca-Chiesa di Sant Efemia-garden

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Convento SS. Cosma e Damiano

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Convento SS. Cosma e Damiano,

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Chiessa dela Redentore -Giudecca

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Giardini

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Giardini

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San Pietro di Castello

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San Pietro di Castello

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Chiesa della Madonna dell'Orto

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Posted by bojanb
a few months ago

THE MED Land team, May–September 2019

THE TEAM; Eleonora Pauli, Laura Mangunda, Ivana Petan, and Ayane Tanaka

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>>> Eleonora Pauli studied literature and languages in Berlin and Cambridge. She loves to listen, and encountered many new and inspiring sounds while travelling with Bojan on Nalu.  Eleonora works as a journalist in Berlin, Germany. She writes and produces short radio plays for Deutschlandradio, collects sounds for her next satirical commentary, or just walks the city streets with her microphone in her hand and her ears wide open.

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She came to Greece and stayed with the project for the first two months! For me, it was a very bright experience from day one, a very creative, supportive and positive living and working time. She came with small audio and photo-film equipment, as an enthusiast for sound recording and with professional audio journalistic skills. It was very exciting, since I love the sound, too! And it was a perfect match to record (video and sound) “what was going on” during this two months:

Eleonora also did her part in the exhibition “BARKE” (Boats), which already took place in September at the Museum of Stari Grad, Hvar island. It was about the third element of the exhibition, image & soundtrack TRACES OF MEDLAND PROJECT 2019/1 a project on which the creation of this entire exhibition is built on. The soundscape was created by Eleonora!

laura-mangunda-med-land-projectLaura Mangunda, a law student from Slovakia was formally “the opposite world” from Ayane who was from Tokyo. But in reality, we had all common pools and very informal, easy-going, “MED land” active and challenging life. She was always ready to help and do things I wouldn’t even think of, from research to every task on the boat, transcribing, etc., and was always open to learning. “So young, so good “, could be the title of the song I would write about her!

bits from her fear-well letter;

Dear Bojandzi,

Thank you for this whole experience.

It has meant a lot to me. It has brought me to experiences and realizations that I didn’t expect at all … >>> MORE

ivana-petan-medland-team-may-september-2019Ivana Petan has been IN from the very beginning –from day one, when we sailed Nalu from Bari to Slovenia to restore the boat, back in 2010!

SINCE THEN, she has been continuously collaborating in every possible way, from doing repairs on Nalu, transcribing, supporting the financially and her unique ceramics, sailing on destinations. We also had 3 exhibitions together, related to the MEDLand project:

Dance with Mary – exhibition/installation

Water Dragon of Venice – Exhibition in Zadar

Exhibition “Barke” (Boats) by Ivana Petan – ceramics and BojanB – prints

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Ayane Tanaka from Tokyo has been engaged in international business with the focus on marketing and corporate strategy. She had worked for a fashion agency in Paris as a marketing assistant, and got involved with MEDland project as a PR and strategic marketer, as well as a sailing crew member. She is interested in culture, gastronomy and sustainability, which she cultivated by travelling around the world and through various art and sports activities. She joined us on Ikaria and we finished our common trip in the Adriatic – on Hvar island, which took us 13 days. “The sailing journey in the Mediterranean for 13 days was sometimes extremely tough and very much lovely at other times, which gave me an intensive experience of understanding Mother Nature.

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ayane-tanaka-849a88150Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ayanebby

 

AND bojan >>making-a-story-bojan-brecelj-explanations

 

Posted by bojanb
a few months ago

Upcoming stories from the Aegean and Marmara Sea, May–September 2019

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From Athens to Constantinople and back, through East Aegean sea and as south as Patmos island – here is the list of stories that are “in the fridge”, I hope not for long, since some of them are still waiting from last year:

christodoulos-ulysse-nalu-traveling-together-medland-projectThe first team of the 2019 MEDLand storytelling project was related to the last recorded story in 2018 – Christodoulos is actually the heart of the team now, and the focus of the story. How come? We were four plus one: Eleonora from Berlin – German. She connected to the project through Workaway platform. Her skills are radio/audio journalism, with a touch of video, too.

Bojan-Eleonora-Christodoulos-Makis (Christodoulos skipper) and Odyssey.

Christodoulos decided to do a pilgrimage-ritual trip through historical places in the North Aegean sea, from Athens to Istanbul via Limnos island, also passing  Marathon field, the temple above Chalcis where armies got together to attack Troy … then Limnos island, connected to Odyssey karma, where he betrayed his fellow men … and “it is time now to release this pain”. Rituals and conversations with Odyssey were Christodoulos’ occupation, while he was sailing on his own boat at the age of 83! BUT – newly born every day, with plenty of smiles, positive thoughts and joy for life, philosophy, cipora, vine, good food, poetry.  The final destination was his home island, Ikaria. Three films about the trip were published along the way on the WGO page.

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Anta was born in Athens, grew up on Crete, and currently lives on Limnos island, working as an alternative tour guide and activist for sustainable development on the island.
“… we live in another era now, I don’t think we should carry the past. Maybe some practices of producing products for our own consumption, it is something that can be done easily. And this also gives us the satisfaction to working with land, that land can provide for you. I think that this relation can bring us closer to nature. This, I would keep from the past – and nothing else. People make the difference. Cretans cooperate, they are more innovative, open-minded, they make collaborations, while people here – maybe because it is a distant island and they do not have many visitors – it is like they are afraid of one another.”               

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Giorgos moved from Tesaloniki to Samothraki island with Jacqueline.”If we start a family, we need to do something else … We had enough, we want to change our lives, maybe live in a community or start a community, and we thought, ‘OK, why don’t we first go around and see for ourselves’. So we took our motorbike and traveled through France, Portugal and Spain for one year. We visited eco-communities and eco private projects with very different types or organizational management. And it was very interesting to see how things worked or didn’t work. We ended up on Samothraki.” … “Either you love it or you hate it, and you have to leave immediately”, was a sentence repeated by many, especially the ones that migrated and now live here for years … And their love affair goes on. They are the active population for the needed changes in a land of “no compromises”.

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On Samothraki island, I was occupied with trees most of the time. They let me know that through thousands of years on Samothraki, they are the biggest, free  open-air art galley, where living sculptures express creativity beyond imagination!

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Omar
In april 2017, Omar – 26-year-old Syrian refugee – founded organisation refugee4refugees on Lezbos and Samos island, two of the most immigrated islands in Greece. The organisation, that is, mostly Omar himself, runs programs to improve the lives of refugees on the island, like education, free shop, programs for kids, engaging volunteers from all over the world. He himself is also volunteer! The organisation is one of the most notable on the two islands.
“I can see the Mediterranean full of blood, since you can not escape people from the violence at home.reffugee4refugees

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Melissa,  a lawyer from Mexico, volunteering at the Legal centre Lesvos 
I was supposed to volunteer for two weeks and go back. And these two weeks turned into a month and a half, (…) and then i did get my Visa, but also Trump got elected and I was hesitant to go back.
But it was not the same after what I saw in the refugee camp, I did not feel comfortable going back to my crazy, creative comfortable life in new Orleans and not doing anything. So that is how I ended up here. Maybe many people want to help, but they cannot afford not working. Of course, it is a privilege, I tell you, everything is so unfair in life. I was very privileged, I was very fortunate with a loving family, with access to education to travelling, I learnt different languages and I studied many different things. And I think the least I can do is used these tools to do something nice and good, not only for myself. Myself and for others.” https://legalcentrelesvos.org/

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Fabian from Switzerland, came to Lesbos in March 2017 to start a project  – “One happy family” The core idea is to provide facilities for refugees. “We started without a fixed idea of what we wont to do. We talked to refugees, locals, politicians, journalists, to see what exactly is needed. Besides legal rights, housing and medical care needs, they have nothing to do! Which is also a big problem … We started to build a community center together with refugees, decide what and how we want to do it, and later to also run it by them … We fight for humanity – expect us to win! No risk, no fun. Everything seems impossible until it’s done.https://ohf-lesvos.org/en/welcome/

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Estelle, 27, from France is a co-director of Yoga and Sports for Refugees, which is now also part of One Happy family project.
She is organizing running trainings, swimming classes, boxing classes like taekwondo, kickboxing for women, self-defense classes for women, Yoga classes, fitness classes … ”We started this project because sports and yoga can really help mental health, for people staying in camps, to live in a peaceful environment. If we do not educate our children or the next generation about what is happening and why it is happening, it’s never going to change.” >https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=458563191343959

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Lena from Lesbos island: “They try to convince us that we are war-logs, and by nature selfish … Otherwise, we will die sooner or later, that this is nature of our race. No, no, this concept totally fucked up our planet, this is how ‘they’ want people to think, and a majority do not use much brain, that is true, but I believe many young people want something different …” Lena runs a very popular restaurant where refugees and locals cook and serve. Half a million crossed Mikilini – the capital, so Lesbos also was a start-up group for setting up Pikpa camp, where 50,000 people went through since 2012. You can change things by doing things, and this change will be multiplied by other people, and so on.”

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Lefteris from Ikaria
“I go to pick up plants usually in the morning, then I make a product. And in the afternoon, I have guided tours. I organize interpretive experiences, it’s about regenerative tourism, as I call it. So I’m trying to slow them down a little bit, and to get them in contact with the character of Ikaria, and if I manage to inspire some of them, I’m quite happy. So what I’m trying to do is to raise social and environmental awareness … Now we started a new project to renovate a refuge place on top of the mountain, as well as look after a hectare of land, since we want to prove that many different plants and endemic trees are growing up there. There are five times too many animals – goats and sheep – on the island, and shepherds are denying it … Not long ago, Ikaria was one of the most forested islands in the Aegean sea. Direct democracy, communalism and de-growths were the values of Ikarian people in the past, and we’re not even aware of it. One of the projects across the whole country is to develop society in line with these values…We (Lefteris and wife ) support other producers, our place is open for visitors, so we try to raise awareness about the idea of self-sufficiency.” Lefteris also spends time in his lab to implement old knowledge of using herbs. ” We know that natural substances when they are combined like it is done in nature, are completely different from doing concentrated substances synthetically or extracting substances and use them in high concentration.” As for many on the islands, specialization is actually having different types of knowledge which are related to the basic needs to live.” >>  Ikarian Footprints

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Women coop on Ikaria island
Gabi came from Italy. “It was no coincidence that we founded the cooperative for women: Women on such small islands have very little opportunities to find a job, also because when the children are small, there is no kindergarten or other childcare, and the good thing about women cooperative is that you don’t have to work 8 hours a day, but everyone is able to contribute as much as she can, the salary depends on the working hours, not the month. So a housewife or a mother who raises her children can work on a flexible schedule. And women have more power, that is just the way it is.
What they do: it is a sweet shop, pie shop, food shop, with fruit products, coffee place … All done from local ingredients from neighboring farmers. 7 women, two of which foreigners, are running the coop. It started in November 2009
https://www.tasteikaria.com/?section=1923&language=en_US

dimitri-ikaria-medland-project

Dimitris from Ikaria ”I came back because I made a deal with my wife that if we have a child, the child must grow up in a safe and healthy environment, which is not Athens. I think for example my child here on Ikaria from six years on goes alone to the town to the Square because everybody is checking what’s going on and looking at my child, as  I am looking for the well-being of other children. We do not have policeman here, we are doing the job by ourselves, always checking if everything is OK so the thieves don’t steal anything, because if the owner catches you, they hit you and the only way to survive this is to run to the police station, but we don’t have it here…” Dimitris has three diplomas and does many jobs. His big concern and activity is to study, explore, preserve and educate others about the Ikaria natural environment. He is a speleologist and knows over 40 caves in Ikaria. He is also in a rescue team. ”I do many things, because I don’t like to be bored … I try to show the nature, the beauty of the pictures to the locals especially … That’s why I do photography.”

urania-med-land-project

Urania is a dedicated and native Ikarian. Her father opened the first tourist agency on the island, which upheld the values for sustainable tourism from the very beginning. “When we started the agency, I remember my mother saying we should do it in the way that will not spoil the island. I use my skills, art and knowledge in tourism …  All the aspects of our life come from aesthetics  Aesthetics has nothing to do with art only, it’s about how we choose the people around us, our environment, how we dress, what we eat. Aesthetics is also very much related to harmony, and harmony is based on the human proportions. The purpose is to be in balance, and in that case we never go against the natural flow of energies. Aesthetics will make us better, will make us happy, because according to our taste, we choose our partner or our lifestyle, a glass of wine we enjoy, and finally, this is the meaning of life. But we don’t pay much attention to aesthetics. We have to train children to watch, to observe, and make their own choices.  For me, this is the beginning of one’s personality. It all has to do with our lower instinct, but if we don’t use aesthetics, we cannot be the master of our instinct logic and soul. Brain and soul,  it is these two potentials that we have to balance. We must respect our contribution to, or our existence in the universe, and not try to force the change of the rules, because then it’s really toxic and catastrophic. Aesthetics is about the big chapter. It is a big part of philosophy. This canbe applied philosophy in life, this is the key to make us open windows, to see things differently , to re-estimate our position as humans, as individuals, smaller groups, as well as people as part of the universe. Dolihi Tours, Urania Mytika

Posted by bojanb
a few months ago

Workshop with Marko Pogačnik on the archipelago of Vis – September 2019

worshop-with-marko-pogacnik-medland-project

Participants were from Croatia and Slovenija mostly scholars of the second year of school of Geomancy, assistants for the field exercises, some permanent collaborators as well as organisers of the event from the island..18 altogether! The focus of the workshop of intensive 2 nad half days connecting, understanding, communicating and acting in imagination for the wellbeing of island Vis and Biševo.

The main push to do the workshop on the archipelago of Vis was an invitation of LAG ŠKOI - Manuela Antičević, who was also the organiser of the event.

Among the visited places were: church of Marija Gusarica-Komiža, the chapel of SV. Mikula above Komiža, the monastery of SV. Jeronimo-town of Vis, Duhova cave also known as TITO headquarters during II WW, Stiniva beach, the monastery of SV.Nikola above Komiža,  Biševo island -Blue cave, The sea bear cave and Odyssey library, Sv Ante Padovanski on Plisko plain...

 The workshop was held on Vis and Biševo island- in Adriatic.     

Posted by bojanb
a few months ago

project in Palestine :


Eyad Tamallah, 20 ....I have many dreams. The big dream is for the world to be in peace. I believe that peace will start from the people themselves and not from the government...

I was born in Quira but I live in Ramallah. I study engineering at Birzeit University. I love to do things where you can see changes. The purpose of engineering is to make life easier for people. I think this is a big purpose. I also love philosophy. To learn about society. For a young person, to build your future, it is good to go to the city. It has more opportunities and you can meet people from different places. You can get a wider perspective so I think this is important. But I also really like coming back to the village during the weekends, holidays. I like the way people here are together, the family evenings, how they love each other. When I am here I do agricultural work and I feel I am part of the village. I do a lot of traditional farming. Here I get a lot of knowledge. I think it is important to work with the land. When you are in contact with nature, you get a very deep connection with yourself. I think this will make you stronger, wiser.

I have many dreams. The big dream is for the world to be in peace. I believe that peace will start from the people themselves and not from the government. This is my big dream, that people find peace in their hearts. I see my future here in Palestine. I think you should help your society, your country, the place where you live and where you share your memories. But I would love to go for a trip somewhere. I wish to go to the sea. To see the other side of our land. As a young man I can’t go to Jerusalem, to the sea, Haifa, Jaffa. So I wish to go there.

BOOK-preview

During 10 days in July 2018, anthropologist Barbara Vodopivec and me did 100+ interviews with selfportraits in the country of Palestine – cities and villages in the West Bank. The result is unique, nothing I could have imagined beforehand. It presents a parallel life, deeply rooted in heartfelt  relationships between people, as well as to the land. Land as a space that provides everything necessary for life, as well as culture and history. The wisdom based on the intelligence of heart, which goes beyond unconscious survival patterns of human nature, is very valuable for everyone of us, because we are all to some extent exposed to the pressures of domination, exploitation, control, violence. It is the way  to find a peaceful transition to the next step of our evolution in harmony with all beings.
At least half of the Palestinians are scattered around the world, but remain connected with the land and the people in Palestine. In this way, the wisdom they developed is also spreading around the world. The situation is similar to the side effect of the occupation of Tibet since 1950. More than half of the Tibetans live outside of Tibet, spreading Buddhist wisdom all over the world as an important mankind’s endeavor to understand life and develop peaceful ways of coexistence. It is based on compassion, which is also a common point with Palestinian wisdom. It lies in their hearts.
What also became clear to me during our time in Palestine is that Jewish people, through their centurieslong struggle for survival, developed extreme intellectual consciousness. The latter drives and motivates us “from the opposite side” to the intelligence of heart. To this day, these two fundamentally different worlds have not found a peaceful dialogue. When talking about the future, many of our Palestinian interlocutors stressed that the most important goal should be peaceful coexistence for ALL in Palestine, which also includes the settlers who took over the Palestinian land.

PALESTINIAN YOUTH AND SEEDS OF THE FUTURE

introduction from the book  by Barbara Vodopivec, anthropologist, Society for Human Rights Humanitas, Slovenia

How do young people in Palestine see themselves? How do they live their lives, what do they dream about and what are their hopes for the future? With this book we try to give a glimpse into the way youngpeople in Palestine think about these questions. Thisis not a research about Palestinian youth or a holisticrepresentation of their lives. Rather, it is an artproject, a mosaic of images and a story about the way they understand themselves and the place andtime in which they live.

Through the use of self-portrait photography and short interviews we hope to capture young people’s voices, particularly their experience and expressionof a personal and collective identity. The portraits,which always place an individual against his or her background, explore identity from a very intimate, individual perspective but always in relation to thebroader environment. Personal and collectiveidentities are closely interconnected and in the narrative of the young people, the harsh politicaland economic situation further intertwines the two.When young people talk about their own lives theyalso talk about Palestine. When they describe their home they also describe their country. In theirnarrative Palestine is not something abstract but what they experience and express through their daily life – through work, dance, sport, studies, art,architecture, friendship, family. As many emphasize,due to the struggle for freedom and justice,Palestine is in everything they do. This means thatpersonal dreams are impossible to separate fromthe hopes and aspiration for a Palestinian future.

The portraits and interviews thus aim to tell a story of how young people feel their identity, how they experience it through their personal self as well as through the place in which they live, and in relationto people they live with, or are separated from. Forthe context of Palestine, the latter is particularly important, with Palestinians living divided betweenthe West Bank, Gaza, and the rest of the world. Thisseparation, together with the system of oppression, discrimination and colonization which makes it almost impossible for people to travel, creates a distance that many young people try to overcome in their imagination by pointing to their emotional attachment to places and people they have only heard about, either through friends, parents orgrandparents.

The people we met were outspoken about the way the political and social context they live in limits theirdreams and possibilities for the future. And the sadness and anger this causes. Yet they alsoexpressed an incredible perseverance, resilience andhopefulness. Despite insecurities that perpetuatetheir lives young people stress the importance oflooking forward and struggle for change. Their dreams and imagination of a different future are not to be excluded from this change.

All the photos are self-portraits. While thephotographer set up the photo studio it was thepeople themselves who took the portraits. This so called Selffish Studio developed by the Slovenianphotographer Bojan Brecelj enables people to express themselves in a creative way, making themnot only participants but co-authors of the project.

Every portrait was followed by a short interviewwhich is partially published together with the photo. The photo studio was set up on different locations – streets, universities, youth centres, parks, cafes.Aside from few exceptions most of the people wereselected randomly. Conversations took place in English or in Arabic with the help of a translator.

During our ten day stay in Palestine we visited East Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nablus, Jenin, Ramallah andHebron, always with the surrounding areas. People wemet live in these cities for various reasons: some were born there while others moved to the area to work,study, or are only passing through. These mix of people with different personal backgrounds shows the flow of the cities and its interconnectedness, the mobility, which although limited, it is still taking place.

During our stay in Palestine we also planned to visit Gaza yet we were not able to obtain permission toenter. Unfortunately, we were also not able to meetPalestinians living inside the 1948 territory, the importance of which was stressed by several peoplewe met. Hopefully, this is something we will be able to do another time in the future.

Lastly, we would also like to mention that both authors of the publication are form Slovenia and donot live in Palestine. This of course had an impact onthe way we approached the project, on the set up ofthe studio, on the questions we asked and the final selection for the publication. Our voices are thus impossible to exclude from the publication. This istherefore not just a book about the way young people see themselves, but to a certain extent, it is also connected to the way we see lives of youngpeople in Palestine.

Project is exibited first time in Ljubljana /SLO/-Galerija Bolka Gornji trg 16, till 22 of November - please connect us to the next place to exibit and netwoork on, bojan 

Posted by bojanb
a few months ago

Exhibition “Barke” (Boats) by Ivana Petan-ceramics and BojanB-prints

The opening took place in the courtyard of the Bianchini palace, now Museum of Stari Grad, Hvar island on 11th September at 11 am!

The multimedia exhibitionBarke” (Boats) is built by three elements. The first is Bojan Brecelj’s photographs, focusing on the construction of wooden boats on the island of Samos in the Aegean Sea, which is one of the few places in the Mediterranean where wooden boats are sought and masters still have a lot to do! (collection of 7 prints-limited edition 100 x 70cm and 110x 30cm )

Looking at the strong structures of the boats made of wood growing here, on the hill above the sea… the questions appeared: Is this the past? What is really the future of sea travel? Having in mind these questions, these photographs were created.

The second element of the exhibition is ceramic sculptural works of Ivana Petan – abstract forms of boats, made in the technique of paper-porcelain, chamotte clay and glazes.

In the hours when the sea and sky are painted in the same colour, they look like one big blue. Through it, beings of different worlds draw traces of innumerable shapes, creating a unique mandala of destinies. Each trace tells its story – its creation, its path and its mission that it yearns for. To imprint the traces of sea, to take its form, it happens through the respect, hearing and participation of all visible and invisible phenomena that create the whole of the open and every moment of the new water-air space of life.

The third element of the exhibition is image&sound track TRACES OF MED LAND PROJECT 2019/1 a project on which the creation of this entire exhibition is built on. The soundscape was created by Eleonora Pauli.

more images and the opening:

collection of 7 prints-limited edition 100 x 70cm and 110x 30cm are available as special offer at:

MED Land get involved –PATRON page 

Posted by bojanb
6 months ago

Meeting a Japanese sailor, Wakao Yoshikatu

It was such a precious coincidence meeting a Japanese sailor, Wakao Yoshikatu on the island of Ikaria, Greece. /interview, transcription and photos by Ayane Tanaka./

We were curious to know about the philosophy and the vision of his life because it’s very rare to see Japanese sailors around the world. Here we share his story of the experience in both Japanese and Western culture, which makes him always like to start new things.

“I decide my way of living by myself, not by society. One reason for the decision is rooted in my experience in the exchange study in America 40 years ago. I was shocked by cultural differences, such as individualism and proactiveness. These new values have influenced my current way of living. Another reason is based on my focus on the value of free time, which I cultivated through sailing. In Japan, the priority tends to be working and commercial affairs, not leisure like sailing. In order to have my free time in Japanese society, I have to find out my own way to make a living.”

“The motivation for working is to make customers happy. I have work experiences in different fields such as a buyer of jewellery, a builder, and a hair artist etc. However, my belief in working is one: to make customers happy. I believe a person who is happy to please others can be the happiest person.”

You can track Wakao’s Sailing Vessel “Crow’s Nest 7” from here. We hope more Japanese sailors can be seen all over the world near future.

Full version in Japanese is below:

ギリシャのイカリア島にて、日本人セーラーの宜克 若尾(よしかつ わかお)さんにお話を伺うことが出来た。彼は世界各地をボートで妻と訪れており、今回はヨーロッパから日本に帰る途中とのこと。日本人としては非常に珍しいセーリングを趣味としている彼。一体どんな人なのだろうか?「周りから次は何始めるの?と聞かれるくらい彼は新しいことを始めるのが好き。」と妻は言う。何が彼をそうさせるのか。日本と西洋の文化をこれまで経験してきた彼のストーリーをここにシェアしたい。

自分で自分の道を決めた人生を歩んでいる。そのルーツは学生時代のアメリカ留学にある。

留学という決断

「日本には、社会に決められた「レール」が存在する。大学を卒業し、大手企業に就職するというもの。僕もそうするのだと思っていたが、まだ海外留学が珍しかった40年前、アメリカに行く決断をした。なぜなら、自分とは何か、何のために生きていくのかと疑問に思ったから。そして自分自身を見つめるためには日本の文化が分からないといけない。日本の文化を理解するためには、違う文化を見て比較しないといけないと思ったから。そうして大学3年生の時に、一番身近だったアメリカに半年間留学することにした。」

アメリカでのカルチャーショック

「日本との大きな違いが2つあった。まず、考え方が違うということ。日本のような全体主義ではない、お互いを認め合う文化と個人主義がすごくいいなと思った。2つ目は、自分から何かを起こさないと事が始まらないということ。知り合いが全くいない環境のおかげで、なんでも自分からする力を身につけられた。こういった新しい価値観に触れた経験から、大手企業に入るよりも自分で何かできることがあるんじゃないか、自分の好きなことをする方がいいんじゃないかと思うようになったことが、今のキャリアパスに繋がっている。」

こうして留学後、大手企業ではなく小さな魚屋で修行を積む決断をし、その後「自分でビジネスをする」という夢を叶えた。メンズアクセサリーショップcreamを立ち上げて、バイヤーとして世界中を飛び回る生活を送っていたそうだ。

日本社会で「自分のための時間」を持つには、自分のやり方でやっていかないといけない。

セーリングに気付かされた余暇の価値

「自分でビジネスを始めた頃から、仕事以外の時間を作れるようになりセーリングを再び始めることができた。2012年に今の船を購入し、世界中を航海して沢山の国の文化を見てきた。そこで日本と西洋との「余暇」に対する価値観の違いを肌で感じた。まず、西洋の人は「余暇のために働いている」。例えば、地中海の街は港を中心に街が発展していて、バカンス用のボートがたくさん来ている。遊ぶために働くというライフスタイルが浸透していることの現れだ。一方、日本文化は「生活=仕事」。日本の港は商業用優先であるため、バカンス用のボートの代わりにフェリーといったビジネス向けが多くを占める。このことからも仕事が優先される社会だと分かる。日本では、働くこと=良いことという考えが一般化してしまっているが、たとえ失業率が低くても、実際に幸せな人は少ないように強く感じる。時間的な余裕がないのがこの問題の連鎖を生んでいる。それを見て、自分は自分のやり方でやっていかないといけないなと思った。」

興味深いことに、彼はバイヤーの他に、建築や美容師といった様々な経験を持っている。彼のこれらの仕事に対するモチベーションはどこから来るのか。

仕事のやりがいは、人に喜びを与えられること

自分にとって仕事とは

「仕事で大事なのは、人に喜んでもらえること。だから、仕事の精神「お客さんの喜びのため」を知ることがまず大事。例えば政治も、憲法という精神に基づいて法律というマニュアルが成り立っている。仕事も同じで、「精神」なしに「マニュアル」だけでは仕事の意味を理解しないままタスク処理することになる。だから、仕事の根本である精神さえ分かれば、マニュアルなんかがなくてもお客さんの望んでいることは何なのか自分で考えて仕事をこなすことができる。」

なぜ仕事としてビジネスを選んだのか

「ビジネスは幸せを作ることができると信じている。例えば、政治の世界はみんなが100%賛成する状態は不可能であり、必ず敵を作る。つまり、誰かを苦しめないと誰かの幸福はない。そのバランスを取らないといけないそんな大変な仕事はないと思う。」

人に喜びを与える人こそが幸せになれる

「人の喜びを自分の喜びだと思える人が、幸せになれる人。人の喜びを妬む人や損得を考える人、人に喜びを与えるのではなく自分だけが喜んでいたらいいという人は、幸せになれない。」

彼がこれまでやってきた仕事は一見すると様々だが、根本の考えは共通している  「人に喜んでもらうこと」が目的だったのだ。

宜克さんのセーリングボート「Crow’s Nest 7」はここから現在位置や過去のセーリングトラベルを追跡できる。日本人セイラーがもっと世界の海で見られる日が来ることを願う。

取材·写真撮影·編集 by 田中文音(たなか あやね)

Posted by bojanb
7 months ago

Meeting Antoni Font Gelabert

While staying in the port town of Agios Kirykos in Ikaria island, we met with Antoni Font Gelabert. Antoni has been involved in environmental protection and sustainability for over 30 years, including seven years of being a board member of Greenpeace International. He is currently working on two projects. The first, Pandion, is an environmental consultancy firm. As he explains, Pandion is the Latin name of the fishing eagle, since they mostly work in marine conservation. The second is Ocean Observer, a project that aims to introduce electric boats into operation, from installing electric engines to borrowing electric boats to non-governmental organisations.

Coming from Mallorca and having expertise in the Balearic Islands, Antoni visits Greek islands every year for the past 12 years. Connected to both these places, he transfers his experiences from home to the processes that the Greek islands are undergoing now. As he says, he is interested in seeing and understanding how the same processes that have destroyed Mallorca are acting in different places.

“I come from a place that is strongly saturated by human pressure. Mallorca is growing at the rate of the full population of Samos each year. In the coming years, Mallorca will grow by 300 000 people, ten times the population of Samos. So mainly the challenges and the problems we detect have to do with this overcrowding and the pressure of tourism. But not only tourism: there are people who want to come to Mallorca because Mallorca has very good infrastructure, very good transport and all these things that are fantastic for any project or business. In fact, of the 80 000 people who come to live there each year, 50 000 go away because they don’t find their real dream. So Mallorca is what I call a dream shredder: a shredder that destroys the dreams of 50 000 people whose dreams don’t come true. Because the pressures and the competition are really hard. But the rules of neoliberalism say that everything must go in the direction of growth.”

On our islands we have released the ropes and we are drifting in terms of the relation of people with nature. And here, of course, this is starting to happen. But when we come here, we feel like in the Baleares 50 years ago. There is internet, there is everything that is in our islands, but many ways of doing are still old fashioned. And that has a lot of value: I love the old fashioned way of relating to nature. In the basic sense, I feel at home.”

He talked about where he sees the current problems of the Mediterranean – and the ways to solve them. 

Continue reading

Posted by bojanb
7 months ago
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